Some 50% of the Dutch think Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration party PVV is on the extreme right of the political spectrum and 66% think Wilders is stimulating a fear of Islam, according to a new poll by Maurice de Hond.
And a further 46% think Wilders is encouraging a hatred of the government, the poll of 1,500 people showed.
Last week the Volkskrant leaked details of a preliminary government report on polarisation in the Netherlands which said the PVV is an ‘extreme right-wing’ grouping and a threat to social cohesion and democracy. The report’s conclusions are still being finalised.
Yet while 45% of those polled said Wilders is a racist, 72% said they thought it ‘unwise’ of Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal party D66, to say so.
Last week, Pechtold said the report proved what he had been saying for years. ‘Geert Wilders is a racist and on the extreme right. And now finally there is a scientific basis [to prove it],’ he said.
The public prosecution department is looking into complaints about Pechtold’s statement to see if he should face charges. Top criminal lawyer Gerard Spong has already said he will defend Pechtold if the case comes to court.
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